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Courtesy of the Star

A recent survey by human resource and recruitment firm Corporate Staffing Services reveals that work spouses are growing within Kenyan organisations as is the case in other organisations worldwide.

At least 64% of the 2,550 employees that were interviewed admitted that they have a work husband or wife.

Work couples are workmates of the opposite sex who have a close relationship that is often misconstrued by other employees as a sexual relationship.

However, in most cases – at least at the onset – such relationships are often platonic.

Daphne, 28, admits that she once had a work husband with who she would engage in different activities.

“I was always his plus one whenever we went to company parties. We would go for lunch together or at times go for coffee after work,” Daphne, whose ‘work relationship’ lasted for four years, says.

Similarly, Terry, a writer, admits that she has had a work husband for close to a year now.

“We hang out a lot in the office and even after work. We go for walks sometimes and even lunch together. We share our belongings in the office to the extent he can access my handbag,” Terry reveals.

Her work husband, Alphonse, reveals that it was ‘love at first sight’ when he met Terry.

“I guess we had chemistry because we connected instantly the first time. I was attracted to her hard-working nature,” Alphonse reveals.

Maria, a photographer, admits that her work husband’s physical features are a major reason for her attraction to him.

“I like the fact that he is good looking and has a nice physique. His smile is also just radiant,” Maria, whose ‘work relationship’ is barely a month, says.

So close is their relationship that sometimes they share their packed lunches.

“Sometimes he deliberately brings food for me from home even without asking. He is always concerned and asks whether I have eaten lunch or not,” Maria says.

According to the survey by Corporate Staffing Services, 52% of the employees reveal that they have kept their work spouse a secret from their partners at home.

“However, on the flip side, work spouse relationships harm work productivity. They can lead to hurt feelings, divisiveness, tarnished reputations and even attrition. Just like in a real relationship, fallouts can be very messy,” Perminus Wainaina, Corporate Staffing Services Managing Partner, says.

When managed prudently, such relationships can have a positive impact on the workplace environment.

Indeed, most of the employees surveyed reveal that most of their conversations revolve around work issues with a paltry 10 per cent admitting that they share their personal relationship issues.

Click here to download work spouse survey Kenya report